Last weeks workshop titled UbiComp at the Urban Frontier showed a diversity of research ideas and innovative projects – all at the intersection of ubiquitous and social computing. The workshop programme was particularly focused on applications for the urban environment. Designers, researchers, computer scientists as well as architects and urban planners were present, about 22 participants in total.
The CitiTag project was presented by KMis Yanna Vogiazou and co-researcher Bas Raijmakers from the Royal College of Art and sparked a lively follow-up discussion around the subject. Many other relevant projects were presented, such as Socialight, a location-based social software matching tool and Zook, a multiplayer game of challenge based on picture taking and ranking, as well as the workshop organisers, Eric Paulos and Antony Townsheds own work at Intel Research. Eric has been exploring everyday practices and objects in the city and has conducted some interesting fieldwork and experiments with lost postcards.
The rest of UbiComp, particularly the first keynote speech and several papers and demos, confirmed once again how acknowledged this area of intersection between ubiquitous and social computing has become. To mention one example, in fact very closely related to the concept of CitiTag, researchers at the University of Glasgow have developed 'the seamful game', a wireless multiplayer game aiming to explore the boundaries of GPS and wi-fi technology. Players work in teams and try to find particular locations to pick up coins, but then they have to find the strongest Wi-Fi signal in order to upload them. Stealing coins from others is also allowed! Trials with 4 players were running during the conference and were quite fun.